Wednesday, 20 January 2016

From Curt - Three Denizens of Edgar Rice Burrows' Barsoom (35 Points)


I thought I'd best get together an entry for the Pulp duel before I get left too far behind. 


First, I want to tip my hat to Sander for my inspiration to this small project. During last year's Challenge he submitted a wonderful entry that got my mind whirling and my pocketbook prised open to order these great figures.

In 1912 Edgar Rice Burrows published 'A Princess of Mars', the first in what would be 11 novels making up the John Carter of Mars series. Burrows is seen as one of the founding fathers of science fiction and his writing, while a bit anachronistic, still entertains today as  as it did over a century ago.


These figures were a close contender for my 'Nostalgia' entry as I've had a real soft spot for the series since I was a teen. I have fond memories of going through the turnstile of novels in our town's pharmacy (which was the only place to buy novels and magazines) and taking furtive glances at the salacious covers of the John Carter paperbacks, trying not to be seen by the store's staff. To me, the art of John Carter is inseparable from the writing itself and I can't help but think of all the wonderful overwrought covers from artists such as Frank Frazetta, Frank Schoonover and Joe Jusko as I reminisce about the novels.



So here we have three denizens of Mars, or 'Barsoom', as Burrows called the Red Planet in his novels.

These 28mm figures are from Tin Man Miniatures. They are really wonderful castings, with very nice poses and, for the most part, requiring almost no cleanup.


This tall, green, four-armed fella is called a Thark. They are a warrior race which show up frequently in the John Carter novels.  He's armed with a pair of cutlasses and has a holstered pistol as well.


I decided to eschew metallic paints for this project as I thought the NMM approach would provide for a more interesting cartoony, cell-shaded effect to the figures.


The above figure is a female Barsoom assassin. I spent some time mulling over what colour to go with and finally decided with a simple deep red as it's often heavily used in the series' cover art


I did a blocky highlighting style to make her robes and boots quite pronounced.


The 'Wild Ride' vignette is a fairly complex white metal model with around 20 parts. It required a fair bit of pinning and filling to complete, and while I'm still not completely happy with it, I still really like the sense of movement it gives. 


I decided to go with a blue skin tone on the beast as I like the sharp contrast against the red-toned groundwork and, well, it's a freaky looking alien so it seemed to fit.

In regards to the bases, I was at a bit of a loss as at first as I wanted groundwork that was distinctly alien, but yet not too overpowering. In the end I decided to use bits of bark built-up with glue to create a stratified rock effect, which did a decent job of blending with the original bases, and then went with a pale orange/red base tone and highlighted from there. 


As to the vegetation, Burrows describes much of Mars being covered with loamy, yellow-red plants so I thought I'd use some old 'autumn' foam flock which I've always thought looked a bit too weird for Earth anyway, but it's finally found it's home on Barsoom.


Scoring? Well, the Thark is over 50mm and should safely fall into the 54mm category. If possible, I ask that the 'Wild Ride' vignette be scored as two mounted figures as I believe the size and complexity warrant it. The assassin is a standard 28mm figure.

Thanks for taking the time to visit!

Aaah - that's about time you got your finger out for this duel... and what a way to do it...very interesting figures I must say. The basing also really sets them off and sets the theme - well done Mr Snowball

65 comments:

  1. Very nice - reminiscent of the movie but better. ;)

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    1. Thanks Pat! I think my wife and I may be the only people that actually liked the movie. We must have been drinking or something...

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    2. My family and I enjoyed it too, but then I did read John Carter stories to my kids from the time they were born! ;)

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    3. That's a relief! We're not the only ones then. :) It's too bad it did so poorly in the box-office as I would have loved to see them continue the franchise.

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  2. No metal paints? Snob. What's next - zenithal highlighting?

    Great work dude - amazing paint job, and your ground work skills continues to vault to new levels - that is really something.

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    1. Haha! I KNEW you were going to light me up on this Greg. Rest assured this will be the extent of any new-fangled smoke and mirrors on my part, I just don't have the skills or patience for things like zenithal highlighting or source lighting.

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  3. Love these. Like you I have very fond memories of reading Burrows in my teenage years and these models are really excellent. Top job!

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  4. Mr Snowball? Are you suggesting that our gallant leader is a revolting pig? Nurse Docherty - how very dare you! ;)


    Fantastic work Curt on some fantastic figures :)

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    1. He is demoted from the SnowLord .. The minions are revolting... Well the Thursday one is for sure

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    2. How distressing! What could have brought about this precipitous tumble from my previous lofty status? Is it the gruel and lash? More? Less?

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  5. I also want to thank Sander. I wanted to do this project as well this year and remember his posts in the last challenge. Alas life got in the way. And no Edgar Rice Boroughs for me this year.

    But maybe seeing these will kick me up the but and I will get some ready for next year. Thank you for showing these they truly are the type of incentive I need. they are both exciting and inspiring to me.

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    1. Thank you Clint, I'm delighted that this is providing some inspiration for you. They are excellent figures and very characterful.

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  6. These are just absolutely beautiful. Really like what you did here. As a founding member of Basing Fetishists Anonymous I can safely say that you struck gold with your basing scheme for Barsoom. I was just commenting on another blog how I want to get better at photographing on a Black background, and this entry confirms that.

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    1. Thanks very much Sean. I'm happy you like them.

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  7. Great painting work, Curt. Fantastic choice of colours and perfect bases. These are wonderful miniatures too!

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  8. Curt these mini's are great! I did notice you went with the more decent versions... Frazetta's artwork has been my guideline for my Barsoom project as well and you've really captured the atmosphere perfectly. Also the assassin could not have been in any other colour than red since it's obviously a Zodangan agent, only they would steep so low as to send assassins. Or perhaps the Therns...

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    1. Thanks very much Sander. Actually I quite like the Bronze Age Miniature range, especially their Tharks and the beasts. And yes, those crafty, nasty Therns...

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  9. fabulous! Curt is on the road to the Golden Demon ! I vote for him !

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    1. Ha! Not even close but thank you Gilles. :)

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  10. Great painting and basing, Curt! Very evocative of the series.

    I also have a soft spot for the Barsoom books; I remember reading A Fighting Man of Mars as my first entry.

    I have purchased almost all of Tin Man's Martian models, with an eye to some future RPG or skirmish campaign...

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    1. Thanks Dave! I think you'll love working on them as they are very nice castings. I have no real plans for mine but I think I can dream something up for a bit of Barsoomian fun!

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  11. Excellent figures there Curt! These are really interesting sculpts

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    1. Thanks Paul! Yes, they are nice diversion from Italian Wars and earth-bound Pulp.

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    2. Modiphius are doing a John Carter RPG at some point in the near future (this year, after Conan I think...) as a kickstarter. I believe they are supposed to be doing some figures to go with it too

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    3. Right, I seem to remember hearing about that. Very cool. I'd be interested to see what they do with it.

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  12. I saw it. I can not pick up a brush for a week.

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    1. Thanks Alex - I'm glad you like them.

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  13. Great figs, I've been thinking about buying these for a while and you've done a top job on them. I really love the bases

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    1. Cheers Martin! Yes, please give them a go - I'd love to see how you get on with them.

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  14. Serious eye candy Curt. The alien mount is amazing and I love your colour choices. The thing that really gets me though is the basing! Can we see close ups and get some tips on how you do it?

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    1. Thanks very much Millsy. I'll see if I can get a couple close-ins for when I post on my home blog. It's pretty easy stuff actually. I just took a couple pieces of cedar bark from our yard and broke it up into bits. I then glued them in roughly pyramidal stacks so they look like miniature versions of the rock formations you see in Arizona/New Mexico. The paint was a mix of craft paint (red and brown) and then lifted with Val. red leather. Pretty spartan but they seem to work well with the figures.

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  15. Top work, Curt, and very nostalgic - the Thark is as impressive as hell and the two lovely ladies are exactly what ERB had in mind in his more fevered moments(Insert joke about a lovely set of Barsoomians here)!

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    1. Yes, the Barsoomian ladies in the Tin Man range take a page or two from Frazetta. They even offer the 'proper' nude versions of the main characters, for those Burrows purists (or pervs).;)

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  16. Veeery nice! The vignette is awesome, love the colours and the subject matter.

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    1. Thanks Iannick! I thought you might like these. :)

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  17. Wow. Really nice painting and really interesting figures. What a great vision. Do you have anymore to show us in the future? I hope so.
    Cheers

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    1. Thanks very much Brendan. Yes, I do have a few more from this range but we'll see if I can get them done during the Challenge.

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  18. NMM.. Cor blimey guvnor ...what's wrong with good old enamel silver like back in the day...

    Nicely done MrC

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    1. I know, I know. It was a moment of 'arty' weakness. That being said I still kind of like the overall effect.

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  19. Excellent colours, really nice figures Curt.

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    1. Thanks Ray! The colours were a bit of a puzzle at first but they seemed to have come together in the finish.

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  20. 20+ parts? Madness but gorgeous madness.

    Ian

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    1. Yeah, it was a challenging kit to be sure, but I'm happy I knuckled-down and got it done as I quite like the overall effect of the figures.

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  21. I love these figures, Curt! Really nice work on them, they look like they just stepped out of the pages!

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    1. Thanks so much David, that is wonderful praise as that was the effect I was looking for.

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  22. These are fantastic! I especially love the mounted model. That's a centerpiece if I've ever seen one.

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    1. Thanks Aaron. The mount is great blue lump to be sure. :)

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  23. The John Carter series certainly does provide some amazing and characterful subjects for miniatures! Your paintjobs don't really hurt the sculpts either :) Great job Curt!

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    1. Yes, the ladies sort of stand out on their own. :)

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  24. Ahhh the Snowman sruck again with all his magic painting power! Wonderful work Curt and quite off the beaten track I'd say. It must get boring by now, but again I have to confess I'm absolutely taken by your basing work. The figures themselves are fantastic but your basing really sets the scene.

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    1. Never boring but very encouraging, thanks Nick, I'm delighted you like them.

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  25. awesome job in some awesome models!!!

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  26. Ye gods, these are great! I've had my eye on the Tin Man range for a while now, and you've really done them justice. The basing work is really effective. Love the striations created by the cork, and the weird vegetation.

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  27. Curt, these are really great! I love how you did the basing - very red planet indeed!

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  28. By Isis they're fantastic!

    Splendid characters from one of my favourite pulp novel series.

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